January 14, 2022

A proposed bill was recently introduced in the California Assembly to bypass the immunity provided to members of the firearms industry by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”).  AB-1594 would add a new provision to the California Civil Code stating that: A gun industry member shall have created or maintained a public nuisance, as defined in Section 3480, if their failure to follow federal, state, or local law caused injury or death or if the gun industry member engaged in unfair business practices. AB-1594 is similar to New York S-7196, which was enacted in July 2021, in that its purpose is to create a statute facially applicable to the sale and marketing of firearms.  The intent of the statute is to allow plaintiffs bringing civil lawsuits against federally licensed manufacturers and sellers of firearms for damages and other relief arising from the criminal or unlawful misuse of firearms to claim that the “predicate exception” to the PLCAA has been satisfied.  To the extent it can be established, the “predicate exception” provides that a manufacturer or seller that knowingly violates a statute applicable to the sale or marketing of firearms is not entitled to the immunity it is otherwise provided under the PLCAA.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. and several firearms manufacturers and sellers recently filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the New York law, arguing, amongst other things, that it is preempted because it directly conflicts with the PLCAA.  Should AB-1594 be enacted into law in California, its constitutionality will likely be challenged on similar grounds.

Renzulli Law Firm, LLP will continue to monitor significant firearms legislation around the country.  If you have any questions concerning firearm related legislation, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.